Yealands Estate has just recently been named the official wine of the Sustainable Restaurant Association. The winery is the first one in the world to produce wine sustainably. From the vineyards to the winery, they combine leading technology and environmental design to ensure efficient and sustainable production.
The winery was built under the Green Building Code. They use as much wind and solar power as possible and are hopefully installing wind turbines in the near future with the goal of becoming the first large-scale self-powered winery. The winery has become such a model of sustainable vineyard management that they often have visitors from other wineries visit to see how they do it.
All this sustainability is well and good but how do the wines taste?
The estate is situated in one of the premier winegrowing regions of NZ, the Awatere Valley on the South Island. It’s relatively new but the valley has proven to have great soils and situated close to the sea benefiting from the winds but still protected from the worst of it. They grow a variety of white grapes as well as an experimental block of Pinot Noir.
I tasted their 2010 Sauvignon Blanc and was delighted by the clean and pure fruit in the wine as well as the fresh minerality that permeated the palate of the wine. The wine had an herbal quality to it as well as having well balanced acidity due to the fact that the vines are situated in a sheltered area. What makes these Sauvignon Blancs stand out from the crowd is the finesse of the wines; on the palate, they were relatively full for Sauvignon Blanc – I also liked the fact that the wines didn’t have too much acidity and weren’t too thin, which can often happen to Sauvignon Blanc.
These are quality wines and the best thing is the price. New Zealand doesn’t believe in producing cheap wines but on the other hand, they don’t want to produce wines that only those with deep pockets can afford. The Yealands Estates wines will be retailing for between £9.99 and £12.99 in your local wine merchant. The wines are also going to be available in the fine restaurants, beginning with The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell.